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tv   [untitled]    July 16, 2013 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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as part of this 311, process and as noticed during the variance hearing, we actually removed those windows from the property so as to not to create any privacy concerns. at that time we accepted those changes and that was part of the variance decision. and i will also just want to show, this diagram here. and it does come up. >> i do want to stress the fact that any of other place, or many other places on the block, this building depth would not be appropriate as i think that demonstrated by the appellants, and in this situation, however, we located between the two of the deeper buildings on the lot. what we have done is we have tried to respond directly to the specific site constraints and the extension, or the deepist extension of the building matches up with the deeper buildings of the north and the shallower part of our building matches up to the
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shallower building to the south. and another point that i wanted to just respond to as part of the appellant's discussion was the appropriateness of a 2-unit building on this site. we went to great length to minimize the size of the building, of the project. both units are what we consider family-sized units so the two-bedroom units which is supported by the general plan. and they are designed at 900 and 95 square feet, which in my, you know, probably four or 500 residential projects that we worked on is extremely small for a two bedroom unit and we got those to works and we are providing the two car stackers as a way to minimize the footprint and the height of this building, most if not all of the two unit buildings on this block would not comply with the vernal heights design review in the sense that they are all three-story buildings
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which they exceed the height limits this building does comply and much smaller in mass and lower profile and some of the comments that were reflected also during the design and review presentation with the neighborhood group. and let's see. yeah, and i think that we went to great lengths to make something that was appropriately scaled to the specific context that we are dealing with. i think, you know, the variance, the zoning administrator can probably speak to this more, but, the way that we understood the variance to be granted in this situation was to respond to our immediate context not to set up a precedence for the rest of the block and i don't think that this building being here has anything to do with precedence for a future development either. and that was another point that the appellants had repeatedly brought up. >> and that is it. >> could you address the concerns raised tonight, it sounds to me that the concerns regarding shading and light,
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may be new concerns that you had not heard before tonight? is that true. >> that is correct. >> is there any legitimacy to that based on the design that you have worked on? and the adjacent properties? >> i can say that our building, or 639 is uphill from the building on the, or that shares the rear yard and so there is a potential for shading to happen there regardless of the size of the structure. and i will also note that that is dealt with as part of the vernal design guidelines in terms of limiting the height of the building building and working with the slope and the contour of a slope like that to mitigate that situation. >> and that is higher up, is that what you are saying? >> no i am saying that this property, is higher than the parallel street down below the hill which is one of the appellant's comments about it. >> you said that 2 was going to directly effect the appellants.
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>> the appellants speaking? >> i don't see how this could have any impact on his property. >> maybe misunderstood. >> that was one of the discussions that we had in the e-mail or while he was in contract with the property. >> shading. >> and impact on the property. >> i think that the appellant that was speaking is due north. >> which would be higher up this. >> but is much lower and going to a single story building. >> is that right? >> the sun as it traverses in the south to the west would cast the shadows on the lot. >> yeah. >> so we would cast shadows on his roof. >> and his yard. >> yeah. >> and yard, because it is... would it? >> i want to hear the yard part? >> could you put that picture back up these illustrations are helpful to me. >> because the one to the north is the speaker from the appellant. 637. >> this is north. >> 637 is the one to the north of the project?
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>> yes. >> and the three part is the furthest back that it is proposed to go, correct? >> right. >> and so the shading is not going to impact the yard, it is going to impact the structure. >> there is potential that it will be a little bit from that corner. >> okay. >> >> the direction of his pen represents probably the sun angle at maybe around 2 or 3. >> the ground floor, the floor to floor height that you have at ten 12, is that required for the stacker? >> correct. >> because most of the buildings and i can actually pull up some of these photographs, but this is a typical photograph where reflt of the buildings were built with double garage and then an
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entry to the building in this situation we took the pains to minimize and so in order to do that, with the minimal lot depth which is 70 feet and the minimal building mass that we are trying to create we had to use a car stacker. i mean that is one of the benefits of being on a slope like this is that we don't have to do a lot of excavation and one of the disadvantages is that we need to have the extra height in the garage to independently access those vehicles. >> and minimizing the garage, opening, did that then allow for an off-street parking to be right next to that? >> right. >> could you show me a picture of it. >> no because it has not been built. >> okay. >> there would be the space, the curb that somebody could actually park in and is that...
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>> correct. we are maintaining an on street parking space to the north here. >> the property to the south has a garage door on the south side, so you could probably fit a smaller vehicle in between those two as well. >> so the impact of that curb cut, if it were a single family home would be the same regardless? >> yes. >> i get it. >> are you done? >> yeah. >> so i have a question, so as mentioned earlier, the person that spoke was in contract during this and so how many conversations did you have with them? >> i had not conversations but e-mail correspondence. we were... and i don't recall if it was his broker or the developer's broker that put us in contact and asked the questions about the property and we sent a pdf of the site permit as was notified and as was submitted to the city. and then we responded to a couple of questions in that e-mail which from my
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recollection only were questioning the extent of the possible future deck on the lower level that would lock light into the neighbor's rear yard >> so evidently the disclosure or the pdfs were viewed. >> correct. >> and those questions were pertaining to those specific pdf? >> it my understanding because there was back and forth discussion about them. >> okay, thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. sanchez? >> thank you, scott sanchez, the planning department as noted the public property 639 and it does allow for the two dwelling units and the item before you is the variance and seeking three variances one from the front set back requirement and one from the rear yard requirement and one from the exposure requirement of the planning code.
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the front set back is 6-5, and the proposing a front set back of 2 feet. and the rear yard requirement is 31 feet, 6 inches and they are proposing a rear yard of 17 feet 6 inches. and also, exposure for one of the units that is exposed to be on front of the street and the 25 feet in width or the rear yard or any of the open area, and so the lower unit, in this case because it is a down sloping lot, only faces on to the rear yard, which in this case because they are seeking a rear yard variance would not meet the requirements because there is no open space variance and they are satisfying the open space for the planning code and the lower unit by access for the rear yard and the upper unit for the roof deck and i think that it is sensitively designed, it is just a hatch and so you have the transparent railing and then you have the roof deck and then a hatch that is a minimum
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at least impact on the neighbors there. and as noted the lot size is 25-70. that is standard relatively standard for the vernal heights and that is true. but for, the lots throughout the city, the standard dimensions are 25 by 100 feet that you would find for the rh2 zoning district. and so here, the subject project that the building permit application that is on file went through the neighborhood notification under section 311, notices sent out in the beginning of december and expired on january 24th and it goes to the owners and occupants within 150 feet of the project and so if someone was not listed as the proper owner of the property, they should have received it if they were the occupant of the property it goes to that address and that includes the plans for the project and there were two variance hearings on this item and first heard on december 5th, at that hearing
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there was neighborhood opposition and they responded to the variance notice, at that point, i think that the variance notice had gone out, and the 311 notice had probably gone out that day or date before. and i continued that item to january 23rd, and i wanted time for the project sponsor to meet and to discuss the concerns of the neighbors, some of the issues that were raised were concerns about the treatment of the front set back because concerns about whether or not it was properly landscaped, and there was resulted as concerns about whether or not if i recall correctly, an underground creek and concerns about drainage and so we continued the item to january, and also, it is my recollection at that time that i mentioned that some of these concerns that are being raised by the neighbors could be addressed through the discretionary review process and surprised that none was filed and we had to get to the hearing on january 23rd and listen to the concerns by the neighbors and i understand that there are
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concerns, but, looking at the design of the project, and i think that has a sensitive design that does adequately address the planning code requirements and i believe that it meets the five findings necessary to justify a variance and so that leaves my justification to grant the variance and the building permit application has not been approved by the department and once it does and reviewed by planning and that permit would be appealable to this board at a later date but that is the current status and you know, finding here that they are meeting, you know, the requirements of the allowances of the rh2 zoning district to have the family sized units and two bedroom units and i don't think that these are monster units of trying to gain the system in any way or building up larger than really should be permitted on the lot. and i think that the adjacent property has created a hardship for this case and the planning code requirements are based upon the adjacent properties and you have the set back requirements that are dictated
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by the nature of the properties and i can't see how you can't include the properties when reviewing and discussing the decision and so i am not aware of any state law that would preclude me from considering the adjacent properties and there is nothing in the planning code. if anything you should call upon your knowledge of the neighborhood and the adjacent properties to make that or take that into consideration when making a determination. so noted that these are approximately 1000 square foot units and not monster units by any definition i would say. and so again, with that, we found that there was sufficient justification to it grant the variances and i am available for the questions. there is a pattern and it is not a predominant pattern. but, the down hill, neighbors they are actually in an rh 1 zoning which has a less regard requirement and on the subject block it is rh2 and the properties do as noted they
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extend further into the rear yard than the adjacent building and i think that is or works toward the justification for the variance and i am available for the questions. >> thank you. >> mr. sanchez. >> i could not find where you got the 6 and a half foot on the ont set back requirement. >> averaging on the adjacent property. determining the required front set back? >> i was wondering whether there was a legislated set back. but, if you look at it, it appears that the what they are proposing is almost the average between the two. >> yes, i see. >> i will go ahead and clarify that because i worked with the planner ben fu on this one, this area right here, actually identified, as xh is further up to the street. and it is actually partially an open entry area and so it is
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roofed but because it is opened as an open entry area, and opened to condition air and not part of the actual residence it was considered not to be part of the building mass and so we actually had to average back from what we are noting here as the 5-6 and a half. >> i understand. >> thank you. >> thank you, is there any public comment on this item? >> please step forward. >> >> i'm brian olsen and i live at 619 which is on this block and i was kind of drawn into this appeal for the variance when the notification happened. to the neighbors, a lot of neighbors weheve
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variations being requested. and i don't know if those shading issues came up because i think that it was more general with the other neighbors wondering why are they or why would they grant them a 14-foot, extension and into the rear yard? so i think that a lot of those concerns were addressed. from the neighbors, through letters and also a number of neighbors attended the planning for the variance hearings, in december. and so i don't agree that those concerns were not brought up about the size of the project, both the height and the inch of the rear yard into the front yard, i think that was the important part of the neighborhood opposition. and i think that a lot of people are concerned about the loss of green space going on. with these buildings encroaching into the rear yard.
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those yards are very they are kind of wild in a way. secondly, i can see the advantage of wanting to build up into that space because it is difficult to traverse, and i have two small children and they are kind of like mountain goats running around on the ter aces down there. but we provide because we are within the required variance and we provide a lot of green space for habitat and there is a lot of birds and animals living in our yard. and flowers and bees and all kinds of things and i kind of object to the trying to say that the roof top deck is the same as that green space. so they proposing a roof top deck, and there are two other projects on vernal hill, recent projects that are monster yus and one on vernal heights boulevard as you turn the corner and the other one on the top of fulsom and they both have roof top decks and it does not replace the green space
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that was taken away by the size of those projects. and so i am concerned about this setting a precedent. i don't object to the design of the building or of having a structure in this space, that was sort of brought up as that this is private property. so why are you objecting to us being able to build what we want to build on. and i think that the neighbors came with the concerns that were legitimate. and i don't think that the developers addressed the concerns that the neighbors brought. so any way, that is what i want to say. >> thank you. >> i have a request before you believe here. so, when you met with the developers, and possibly the project owners, do you feel that they addressed a lot of your concerns or were trying to address a lot of your concerns? >> i felt that they presented the project simply as they had in the variance hearing.
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they showed us what the project was, they tried to convince us of the merits of the project just as they have done to the planning commission. and that is what they did. >> well, i mean, i heard earlier that, you know, one of the neighbors was concerned about the windows looking direct, so they removed the windows. so, you don't think that they were... >> i think that was the sign, i think that actually occurred even before, the variance hearing, that was kind of like they had done that even before the very first variance hearing. i felt like there were a lot of other concerns and not only with the water and the drainage, and they have an answer for everything as to why this project should go forward. and i think that the neighbors also have some legitimate concerns and i don't know what the process is. but it seems to me like the neighbors are kind of locked out of this process.
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>> were you aware that there was a discretionary review process. >> we were and i feel personally responsible because at the 11th hour the night before and i emailed the block saying, we have not done anything about this and we need to do something about this. >> is there a reason that you did or did not? >> i think that me, myself, i was like sort of the only person that was either in town because it was the holidays, or sort of on top of the deadline. because of my interest in this. >> so you said that there was quite a bit of interest against the project. so... those people that were interested in not seeing this project go forward were aware of the discretionary review process that is supported by the city and county, correct? >> yes. but i don't think that the... we were given the impression on the variance hearing that we were meant to work it out with the developer. like it was not... there was a chance with us being able to work something out with the developer >> and i am just trying to fill out that... and you know, it was much more
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serious. >> yeah. well if it was, then, why didn't that move to the discretionary review process. >> i think that we did not realize how serious the discretionary review was. and i am not an adjacent neighbor and so my interest is on principle and i do have concerns about it, but i don't feel like the process is really fair. >> okay. >> it was just going to ask for the variance and going to be granted. >> but that is why we have the discretionary review process. >> right. i understand that. any way i can take responsibility for it but i was not able to pull off the application by myself at that. it is the one neighbor who presented tonight at that point did not think that he could be involved. >> okay. >> you answered my question, thank you very much. >> okay. >> is there any other public comment? >> seeing none, we will start with rebuttal and the appellants have three more minutes. >> i will make a few more
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points, we were in discussion and contract at that point i did see the plans and this is a big structure and it is going to impact my property and my property negatively but i want this property and it is our first home and the market is crazy. and that all being said when i looked at the plans and everything, no one ever told me and it was never stated anywhere that those plans required three variance and again, i never got proper 311 notification that i was even allowed or due process to file a discretionary review. so again, like what brian just said when the neighbors were rallying around and said do you want to be involved? >> legally, i don't think that i can be involved. i am an, engineer, when i look at legal documents it confuses me. i did not think that i would be allowed to file the discretionary review because i had signed off on the plans
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when i purchased the home as one of the disclosures and i was incorrect. and any way, >> i mean, i am in the southern 645, adjacent property and so i did have the conversation around the privacy and the rear variance and the privacy in general they did not remove the windows but alter to a smaller profile but between the roof deck and the windows there was with the deck and all of my living area in the backyard and all of those windows look down on to mine. >> privacy issue. >> did you receive the 311 notice. >> i don't recall getting a proper 311 notice, and one of the things that we started to discuss, did you get the notice or not? there was a general uncertainty. i know that there was a hearing coming up and that is when i sent the first e-mail saying that i travel a lot for my job and i will not be here for the review. >> you knew that it was happening? >> even though you did not get
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it. >> and i did not mean to interrupt you guys, are you done with yours? >> so i think that this is very important way, and i understand that the developers, and they are interested to make the money and that is great and i fully support that. it is a vacant lot that they own and they have the right to develop it. and however, like we pointed out in the beginning, they don't have a right to be granted variances. the code is there for a reason and this is specialty.
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>> they purchased both lots and remodeled it and i am very happy with my home and sold that to us for $800,000, more than double what they paid for it and now they have the second lot which they subdivided and dating back to whenever, you know, these or whenever that original property was built, they sold off the lots and this last remaining lot, and they got a really good, they are doing well with it. and i don't think that variances should be granted so that they can build a larger instruct you are solely for the purpose of making a bigger
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profit. it is not in the interest of the neighbors, and the direct neighbors will be negatively impacted by the variances that they are granted and it is not in the best interest to the future home owners that are going to have the property that doesn't have enough open space in the back and i hope that you come to our side and agree that they should not be granted these variances. >> i got a question. >> yes. >> so, i mean, you are an, engineer, and so you are pretty articulate guy, especially with details and it is now being made aware of me that the developer that is selling the next property also sold yours? >> correct. >> so evidently their disclosures must have been pretty concise, considering that they are the sellers of the next door to the property that they are now developing? >> you mean the plans? >> yeah. >> yes, again, they provided me very detailed plans that are still the same today.
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i was aware of what the property looked like the only thing that was not included was that they did not say that the plans required three variances to be built as they were shown. >> i thought this was a structure being build to code and they were allowed to do it with the property i was not aware until after i purchased the home that that property indeed was granted three variances to be built as it was designed. >> but whether it was regarding the variances or not, when you purchased the home, you at that time, accepted the fact that this home was going to be constructed next door and you had privy and detailed plans to what the finished product was going to look like? >> right, and actually here is the... i am sorry could you... and you can't read it it is an eye chart. and we could certainly provide the copies of it but this is the actual final contract addendum that was required to purchase the home. i highlighted the box at the bottom...
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>> do you have a physical copy of that on you? >> i do not. i have an electric copy on my lap top. >> go ahead, and why don't you read that? >> i could blow that up as well. i could easily just click on it. >> okay. >> yeah, read it. it is like three lines. >> so, the top part based i could summarize and certainly, i could dig into it but the highlighted part on the bottom which is important to the next few slides and it said that here are the plans and we are not guaranteeing you that this is the way that it will be built but it does say notwithstanding, that the seller acknowledges and agrees that the development by the seller for any of the entities will not incorporate any backyard or deck elevated more than 3 feet above the existing grade. so that is what we discussed. and as you mentioned that was my main concern was how much shade will i get and could they pop up this huge deck that will
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create a lot more shade on my small usable rear yard. so here is this existing plan from the rear. and the line as it is shown is 6 feet above the existing grade, where they marked the bottom of the property, the bottom of the structure. and here is a side view, and you can see this nice terraced rear steps in the back that does not exist. it is rough and rugged and the same as the hill was and never developed on and sloping down this red line is approximately what the lot looks like other than this cement stairway that runs alongside the side of my home. and here is actually what the backyard looks like, and you are probably all familiar with the approximate height of a garbage can and the red line is drawn of what they are showing is going to be the back of the
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new instruct structure and they said that they will not be developing or put in the hard scraping over 3 feet and the plans show it at 6 feet. >> i don't think that i understand about that. >> i do. >> yeah, help me understand. >> i don't understand what is going to go in there? i don't have a great imagination. what is going to go in that space? when you say that the structure itself? >> yeah, the building, or the back of the building will end, right, so i have it in the cans at the rear of the proposed building, that is going to be the back of the part that sticks out the 14 feet. >> and what about the red line goes out further. >> and so the red line, is that is what they are calling ground level of the structure that they are putting in. >> so it is all land? >> so they are going to have to